BEST INDIE BOOK FESTIVAL! TODAY and TOMORROW ONLY! Check it out!
I have been extremely fortunate to be involved in the pre-event stages of this awesome festival! I had the privilege of interviewing publisher, Mike Harris about his grandfather’s book, Pegasus Falling, one of the Finalists in the literary fiction category! I hope you all will support these talented authors and their work!
If you’re looking for a few good books, the BEST INDIE BOOK FESTIVAL is today and tomorrow only at the World Literary Café! Check it out here http://bit.ly/Q93gVK ENTER to WIN Amazon gift cards (no purchase necessary!)
Pegasus Falling - Part 1 of the Cypress Branches trilogy
available now in paperback and ebook
Other ebook formats: smashwords.com
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing the grandson of William Edward Thomas, author of Pegasus Falling, a Best Indie Book Finalist! Welcome, Mike Harris! Before we begin, I’d like to acquaint our readers with a little background information about your grandfather.
Bio of William E. Thomas
William Edward Thomas was born in West London in 1925. He left The Brompton Oratory School when he was 14 and started work as a messenger at the BBC. When war broke out, his mother insisted he left central London and went to work with his father at a factory in Harrow. While still a teenager, William joined the army and was soon recruited in to the parachute regiment. By the time peace had been declared in Europe in May 1945, he had been “dropped” in to a number of key battles and become a much decorated soldier. He was still only 19 years old. Following the war, William served in Palestine until 1948.
He has always believed passionately that education leads to opportunity. He has studied part time for both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts degree and was one of the first students to enroll with The Open University.
William has six children. As they were growing up, he was working and studying in shifts as a merchant seaman and an engineer, working his way from factory shop floor to management. In his mid fifties, he decided to work full time as a lab technician at his Alma Mater, The Open University and remained there until his retirement. It was during his retirement that he decided to set himself the challenge of writing a novel. The Cypress Branches is the result.
William’s health started deteriorating shortly after finishing The Cypress Branches and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2006. Shortly after the hardback book’s launch in the summer of 2009, his health deteriorated to the point where he could no longer live at home. He is now cared for at a home in central Milton Keynes where he is visited by his wife Sheila and family members daily.
Let’s get started, Mike:
(1) We would all love to know what motivated you to take on the task and start the journey of getting the work of your grandfather, William Edward Thomas, published?
Quite simply, it was because I loved reading the book myself. It had a profound effect on me when I first read it. I was handed the manuscript shortly after it was finished and I devoured it whole over a few days one hot summer. I loved the myriad of characters, the emotion, and the humour. I found it very hard to put down and was moved to tears on more than one occasion. It was one of those books that the minute you finish it, you want to share with your friends and nag them to read so that you can discuss it with them. But unfortunately I couldn’t do that! I decided there and then that I’d do everything in my power to get the book published.
(2) What is the most surprising or unexpected experience that you’ve had so far on this special journey?
I thought it would be quite a lonely journey, working from home and trying everything I could to convince a wary public to read a book by an unknown author. I worried that the reaction would be negative, or that people wouldn’t take me seriously. But my experience has been quite the opposite. I’ve met some amazing people through social networking, from bloggers who have embraced the book to other indie authors who are going through the same experiences as I am. It’s quite humbling, actually. Authors are some of the most generous and friendly people out there, and the camaraderie to be found in the Indie world is really quite astonishing. I sometimes feel like a bit of an interloper, not being an author myself, but I’ve still been made to feel welcome. I’m looking forward to making new friends and acquaintances, and hopefully being able to pay back some of the generosity that has been shown towards me and William in the future.
(3) Can you tell us a favorite childhood memory about you and your grandfather? (A visit or outing with him, perhaps?)
One of the most vivid memories I have of my grandfather (who, together with his other grandchildren, I call Gramps), was when I was around 10 years old. Gramps had a “music room”, where he had an incredible sound system set up. It was his bolt-hole where he went to relax and listen to his favourite music – he loves Jazz and Classical, in particular. One day, I went up to the music room with him and sat there in total silence listening to a piece of music. It was a powerful piece, a symphony…very dramatic and emotional, unlike anything I had ever heard before. At the time I had no idea what it was, but there was something about the music which consumed me. We didn’t talk at all, just sat there, both appreciating the incredible sounds that surrounded us.
Before the symphony was finished, the time came for me to leave. Gramps got up, switched off the sound system and handed me the tape we’d been listening to. I harangued my parents to put it on in the car on the way home, and sure enough, the tape was put in the deck and I carried on listening to this all-consuming music once again.
That tape got played time and time again, and the music became very important to me. It is where my own love for classical music started. The music was Gustav Mahler’s epic second symphony, The Resurrection. It remains my favourite piece, and I often listen to it even now. I listen to a recording on my iPod now, of course, but I still have the tape somewhere. It’s a treasured possession.
I’ll never tire of listening to that symphony and whenever I hear it, I think of Gramps and I’m transported back to the music room that day.
(4) What is one thing you would like us to know about William Thomas, the author, that won’t be found in the pages of Pegasus Falling?
William was an incredible cook and possessed the skills of a professional chef. It was thanks to his army career that he got the chance to learn his way around the kitchen. He was a paratrooper stationed in Palestine in the years just after the war. Because of the very difficult situation out there, he was becoming disillusioned with the army’s role and what he was being asked to do. Because of his excellent war record (he was a veteran of several key WWII battles), his request to be moved away from active duty was granted and he was sent to Cairo to work in the kitchens of a luxury hotel which had been commandeered by the British Army. It’s unclear whether he was actually supposed to be trained as a chef, but he managed to pick up some very impressive skills.
Food became as important to him as books and music. He loved French cuisine in particular, and he and his wife, my nan Sheila, often took holidays to France to explore the country’s fine food. He absolutely loved to cook – to the point where he wouldn’t allow anyone else to cook in his kitchen! He had all the mod-cons and was never happier than when he was either cooking a large meal for his family or tucking in to his latest creation. He made the best fish and chips I’ve ever tasted.
(5) What do you hope will be the legacy left to readers worldwide through your grandfather’s work?
After finishing his book, William talked about how the characters had taken on a life of their own. When he was writing, he said, it was almost as if they were having their own conversations and he was merely recording what they had to say. This is probably the reason why his characters come across so vividly. The dialogue is one of the book’s strongest points because he’s captured that conversational style so well. I think it’s the characters which make his writing so enjoyable to read.
I would love to think that by publishing his work, I am giving readers around the world the opportunity to get to know and fall in love with these wonderful characters. And, after a very long wait, I’ve finally got hundreds of fellow readers to discuss the books with.
Thank you so much, Mike, for joining us today and sharing details of your grandfather’s remarkable life experiences, as well as your own fond recollections of memorable and meaningful moments you’ve had together.
For further information about this book or the author, contact Mike Harris at:
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Join William E. Thomas and 9 other award-winning authors in the BEST INDIE BOOK FESTIVAL,
Featuring 10 Literary Fiction & Thriller Titles!
TWO DAYS ONLY!
Tues. Sept. 18-Wed., Sept. 19th.
10 Award winning books and SEVERAL chances to win a
$10, $20, or $50 Amazon gift card
(3 lucky WINNERS will be chosen!)